Silhouettes 2 –more tips

Before my class was cut lose to for their photowalk to see what they could find downtown Riverside, I helped them with their silhouette assignment.

We had already gone over the details but I felt they needed a little more guidance.

What is needed?

  • A bright background preferably relatively uncluttered.
  • A subject which is not well lit relative to the background. By relative, I mean something or someone in the shadows.

Generally speaking you want a subject that is at least 4 stops underexposed compared to the background.

If you filled the frame with me, and you compared it to the overall scene, there should be 4 stops difference in order I register as a dark shape with no detail.

It was Veterans Day, most businesses were closed. I “borrowed” the porch of a church office. I hope they didn’t mind.

Here’s Tony’s 1st attempt.

As you can see, his 1st attempt was not good.

You could hardly make out that it was me standing on the porch.

Tony didn’t consider the background carefully, that’s why.

Even though his exposure was fine, he needed to find a better viewpoint.

Right after he snapped his picture, I looked at his LCD monitor and I suggested he climb up on the ledge on the porch to shoot.

See the difference in his subsequent attempts.

Just the mere act of raising himself onto the ledge now changes the background most dramatically.

Now there is separation between my head and the brighter background.

What was even more exciting to me was how Tony tried something else.

He stepped back a little, recomposed and left a little more space so that my silhouette looked even better.

Compare my profile in the last picture to the one previous to it.

Notice how by waiting and timing it so that my head or neck is not blocked by my right arm, you can see my head better because it doesn’t blend in with my right arm?

Including the shadows of the pillars and also more shadow in the foreground makes the composition more dynamic.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks to Keith Jeskey for his pictures in the slideshow below

2 thoughts on “Silhouettes 2 –more tips”

  1. Nice write-up Peter. Just wanted to let you know my last name has a ‘y’ at the end: Jeskey. Thank you for giving me credit for the photographs.

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